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I know that I can access the live Ethereum blockchain (and the test "ropsten" blockchain) blockchain using geth, and I know I can access a fake local blockchain with tools like truffle.

What I'd like to know is ways to access the live blockchain without needing to download the entire thing.
Ideally with instructions or links to instructions that are straight forward enough that I can actually go and put something on the blockchain right now.

When I say access, I'd like to do the following:

  1. install my own smart contracts
  2. run smart contracts
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What I'd like to know is ways to access the live blockchain without needing to download the entire thing.

Even you don't want to do it: try Parity. It is really easy and fast.

When I say access, I'd like to do the following:

install my own smart contracts

run smart contracts

Try Remix: http://remix.ethereum.org/ You can write, compile and deploy Smart Contracts for test purposes very easily with Remix.

Another option (but more as a GUI for end users) is MetaMask. I use MetaMask for my endusers. See e.g. http://www.chainify.io, which is one of my proof of concepts for dApps with MetaMask

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If you do not want to download entire blockchain you have to take a look to Infura. They acted as gate to live and test networks. You cannot connect to their endpoints using geth but can connect to it using, for instance, truffle with hd wallet provider or private key provider. Finally you can develop your contract, test it locally the deploy to, say, Rinkeby and finally - to live network using truffle infrastructure.

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  1. Download Parity.

  2. Run the following command line in order to create a new account:

    parity account new

  3. Find a way to transfer some "Ether" into that account. You can view your balance at https://ropsten.etherscan.io.

  4. Run the following command line in order to download Ropsten's blockchain:

    parity --chain=ropsten --tracing=off --pruning=fast --db-compaction=ssd --cache-size=8192 --mode=active

    Note that this is a very lengthy process, which can take a day or more. You can speed it up by adding --fast-and-loose, but beware - when you close Parity, you must do so gracefully (i.e., Ctrl+C), otherwise your database might get corrupted and you'll have to delete it and run the process all over again. Why is it important to download the entire Ropsten's blockchain? When you created the new account, it "joined" the blockchain at the end of it. Therefore, if you want to make use of your account, then you must download the entire chain first.

  5. After you start the process, you should see printouts like this:

    2018-06-20 13:53:18 Syncing #2966851 ...

    2018-06-20 13:53:27 Syncing #2967639 ...

    2018-06-20 13:53:33 Syncing #2968008 ...

    At present, there are about 3.5 million blocks on Ropsten. When you see that the Syncing # increments by 1 at each line, it means that you've downloaded the entire blockchain, and that you are now just continuing to download 1 block at a time.

  6. At this point, you may close Parity (again - gracefully), and reopen it in "normal" mode:

    parity --chain=ropsten --ntp-servers=127.0.0.1:123 --ws-port=8545 --ws-interface=all --ws-origins=all --ws-apis=all --ws-hosts=all --reseal-on-txs=none --force-sealing --tx-gas-limit=0x1000000000 --mode=active

    The line above will setup a Parity node listening at ws://localhost:8545. If you prefer to listen on an HTTP connection (instead of a web socket), then replace the ws prefix in each one of the configuration parameters above with jsonrpc. The ws-origins parameter should be replaced with jsonrpc-cors. This will setup a Parity node listening at http://localhost:8545.

Good luck!

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Please consider using Ropsten testnet or a private chain if you are going to do testing. Don't deploy contracts to the main chain unless they've been tested and are intended for later use, otherwise it unnecessarily bloats the main chain.

  • I totally agree - however this is not an answer to the question and would be better done as a comment rather than an answer. – kris Jun 22 '18 at 1:07

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